It’s been a big year for IWC’s emblematic Big Pilot’s Watch, which has proven its versatility as both a canvas for avant-garde design and a base for high complications. Thus far in 2021, we’ve seen the debut of a new 43-mm version of the base model, a constant-force tourbillon with an automotive design, and a chronograph with Mercedes-AMG DNA. The latest model pays a playful tribute to the gaming capital of Las Vegas and specifically the game of roulette.
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Las Vegas” has all the hallmarks of the modern version of the historical “Grosse Fliegeruhr,” first developed for the German military in 1940 and famously revived and revamped in 2002 — among them a 46-mm stainless steel case, a large, conical screw-down crown, and, covering the wide, legible dial, a sapphire crystal secured against sudden pressure drops as one might encounter in a cockpit. Like the 2002 version, the watch features a date window at 6 o’clock and an indicator for its very user-friendly seven-day power reserve in a subdial at 3 o’clock.
Echoing the colors of a roulette wheel, the silver-plated dial of the new “Las Vegas” edition uses black, white, red, and green to identify its details. Black hands tell time on black numerals and indices on a predominantly white background; red coats the small hand of the power-reserve display and alerts the wearer to its final day, indicating it’s time to rewind; and red- and black-framed white numerals alternate in the date window, along with a green-framed numeral on the first day of each month.
The solid caseback features an engraving of a roulette wheel. Behind it, inside a soft-iron inner cage for protection against magnetic fields, beats IWC’s manufacture Caliber 52110. The self-winding movement uses IWC’s hallmark Pellaton winding system, with ceramic components, to amass its week-long running autonomy in two barrels, oscillates at 28,800 vph, and includes a hacking seconds function to enable easy resetting of the hands.
The contrast stitching on the calfskin strap calls to mind those of early pilots’ watches.